I get asked all of the time about boosting the immune system, especially during these crazy COVID times. Being an acupuncturist for over 20 years, I always turn to what I know, acupuncture and herbs. They are both amazing at bolstering the immune system. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is packed full of tips and knowledge to keep you and your household healthy. It helps to know that there are things you can do to support your health, strengthen your immune system and keep your sanity during these trying times.
After following preventive measures (washing your hands, social distancing, etc.), the best way to combat any virus is to support and strengthen your immune system. Did you know that acupuncture, along with other aspects of TCM, is a great way to strengthen the immune system? Its true! And a strong immune system is the best defense right now.
Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and has been proven to treat a variety of symptoms and conditions, but it really excels at illness prevention and keeping people healthy! Acupuncture can help to increase immune function. Studies have shown that acupuncture has a regulating effect on cellular and humoral immunity. This means it can promote immune response to secrete antibodies to fight against pathogens. So, Acupuncture can be a great way to help the body fight germs and viruses and boost the immune system.
In TCM the immune system is governed by a specific type of Qi (vital energy) called ‘Wei Qi’. This is our energetic defense system. It helps to protect us from pathogens (like viral infections) and exterior attacks on our bodies (wind, heat, & cold). We can boost and strengthen our ‘Wei Qi’ to stay healthier by using herbs and by activating specific acupuncture points on the body. Specific acupuncture points can increase immune functioning as well as decrease stress on our nervous system.
These acupuncture points can be stimulated at home, with Acupressure, to strengthen the immune system and support your ‘Wei Qi’. Acupressure is super simple and can be done at home with just your fingers or you can use magnetic spheres on the points for a longer stimulation.
The following 10 step protocol is a great way to boost the immune system and the entire body, all in the comfort of your own home.
Think of it as your daily all-natural immune booster. This protocol should help you keep your body healthy and happy so you can keep pathogens at bay right now, which is what we all want to do! The protocol is totally safe, super effective and so easy that any age can do it, from kids to the elderly.
HOW DO YOU DO IT YOU ASK?
1. Locate the point.
2. Apply gentle pressure to the point with your fingertip. You can use small circular motion or just gentle pressure on the point. Stimulate for about 30 seconds. Or you can place one of our self-adhesive magnetic spheres on the point after stimulation or in lieu of stimulation.
3. Repeat the point on the other side. Most points are found on both sides of the body, so make sure to do both sides where possible.
4. Work your way through the points in the order they are given. It will take less than 10 minutes a day or about 2 minutes if you are using the spheres. This can be done once or several times a day. If using the spheres, they can be left on the points for several days to keep the stimulation going on the points.
10 Step Acupressure Protocol to Boost Immune System
If you are pregnant SKIP LI4 and Ren6
(images for the point locations are found at the bottom of the page, if you need a visual for finding the points)
Location: this point is located just between the inner edges of your eyebrows, where your third eye is located.
Function: Also known as your third eye, this point calms the mind, releases emotion, reduces pain, and helps with general immunity. This is a great point for stress reduction. Stress makes everything worse, so it is our starting point.
2. KD27 (Kidney 27)
Location: this point is located just below the collar bone, about 2 thumb widths from the mid-line of the body, in the intercostal space between the collar bone and the first rib. It is usually a bit tinder.
Function: Superior Immune boosting point for people prone to upper respiratory infections or weak lungs. It is known for its strong effects on treating disorders of the chest, especially wheezing, phlegm, cough and asthma.
3. LU1 (Lung 1)
Location: this point is located at the end of the collar bone, where it connects to the shoulder and about 1 inch below in the soft tissue. It is usually tender. (hint – raise your left arm at 90 degrees in front of you. With your right index finger, follow the lower edge of the collar bone until it can’t go any further and hits the shoulder. Keep your finger in place and relax your left arm. The point is about one inch below where your right finger is located)
Function: Regulates Lung Qi and stops cough. Useful in all lung issues, including cough, wheezing, asthma, and fullness in the chest. This point is the meeting point for the Lung and Spleen channels as well as the front Mu Point for the Lungs.
4. LI11 (Large Intestine 11)
Location: this point is located at the end of the outer elbow crease. (hint – bend your arm at the elbow to find the end of the crease made with the bend)
Function: Prevents colds and flus by tonifying the immune system. It is used to treat heat in the body and reduce fevers. Great for sore throats, toothaches and skin conditions. Clears heat and external pathogens, increases immunity, and regulates the Qi.
5. LU7 (Lung 7)
Location: make a thumbs up sign. When you are in this position, you will see a depression at the base of the thumb, LU7 is about 2 finger widths up the arm from that spot.
Function: Increases Wei Qi and strengthens the immune system. This point is traditionally used for the early symptoms of a cold or flu, like chills, fever, congestion, sore throat or cough. Offers relief for headache or stiff neck.
6. LI4 (Large Intestine 4) (Skip This Point If You Are Pregnant.)
Location: this point is located at the highest point of the hand when the thumb and index finger are pressed together. (hint – press thumb into side of hand to find the highest point between them. Relax hand and press on the point when the hand is relaxed. The point is close to where the bones of the thumb and index finger meet.)
Function: LI4 releases the exterior pathogens for wind-cold or wind-heat syndromes, strengthens Wei Qi, improves immunity, decreases face and neck pain and improves circulation.
Location: this point is located on the chest mid-line at the level of the nipples, (where they are when young)
Function: Tonifies & regulates Qi, dispels fullness from the chest, clears the Lungs and resolves phlegm. Stimulates the Thymus gland and boosts immune function. It promotes calm, making it a great point for fighting stress.
8. Ren6 (Skip This Point If You Are Pregnant.)
Location: this point is located on the mid-line about 2 finger widths below the belly button.
Function: Tonifies and boosts the immune system. Supports overall health. Also supports healthy digestion, women’s health and tonifies Spleen Qi.
9. ST36 (Stomach 36)
Location: Located 4 finger widths below the kneecap, one finger width lateral from the shin bone. (hint – place a flat hand at the bottom of your kneecap, with the index finger hugging the bottom of the kneecap, where your little finger hits is the vertical location, then move one finger width out laterally from center to find the point)
Function: This is the most powerful point in TCM to modulate immunity and is most widely used to boost Qi. It tonifies deficient Qi and blood. Strengthens Wei Qi and chi overall to target low immunity, chronic illness, poor digestion, general weakness, and fatigue. It is also traditionally used with moxa, so if you have access to moxa, this is the point to use it on.
10. KD3 (Kidney 3)
Location: On the inside of the ankle, between the ankle bone and the Achilles tendon. It is level with the ankle bone, in the dip.
Function: One of the most important points on the body as it is the source point for the Kidney energetic system. Most everyone in our modern world is a bit energetically Kidney deficient. This point is great to use for overall support to the body and strengthening Kidney Qi. This is a special point, as it is also a ‘Yuan-Source point’. It stimulates the vital energy of the regular meridians, regulates the functional activities of the internal organs, reinforces anti-pathogenic factors and eliminates pathogenic factors. This point can also be used for low back pain, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), sore throat, cough and wheezing, insomnia, impotence and frequent urination. It’s a great supporting point to end the acupressure routine with.
I hope you enjoy the protocol! It should help keep your immune system in tip-top shape, plus it is super relaxing. We can all use a bit of extra calm right now.
If you have any questions give me a call or email me.
Stay healthy. Stay sane.